Sometimes bromances are the best romances (Cleveland Publications photo staff)
Sometimes bromances are the best romances

Cleveland Publications photo staff

I love you, man

Who needs a bae when you've got your bro?

February 12, 2015

They glance at each other as they walk down the hallway, smiling and giggling at one another. You can tell how much they love each other by the way they are constantly looking out for one another’s feelings. Is there any love stronger – and sometimes more strange – than that of a bromance?

A bromance isn’t just a friendship. It’s bigger, more complex. These relationships are built through many hours of playing basketball or video games or fawning over the class hottie. Doing any and everything imaginable. And once they are found, it’s a wonder how they ever lived without each other.

A bro is your homie who’s got your back through thick and thin. There’s an unstated understanding; one where words aren’t necessary and the laughs just come naturally.

A bromance is love at its finest.

Brothers from other mothers

Silas Morrow and Amanze Oleru


Robyn Gamboa

Amanze Oleru and Silas Morrow

There was a time when you had to be bold to date someone outside your own race. But in today’s society, it’s a little more accepted and isn’t uncommon to see.

The bromance between sophomores Amanze Oleru, who is Nigerian, and Silas Morrow who is Polish, all began on the first day of sixth grade at Asa Mercer Middle School. They were introduced to each other through mutual friend, Lucas King. From that moment on their bromance blossomed like they were meant to be. These two are seen as a couple of weird guys who share a strong bond.

Like any relationship, Oleru and Morrow have their ups and downs. Instead of having arguments when disagreements occur, the boys simply move past the anger because they have realized that a fight isn’t worth losing a friend over.

Unfortunately, the two don’t see each other at school that much since they don’t have any classes together. When their schedules do collide, the pair tries to do everything together. It’s not helped by the fact that the two play different sports, so there is not much time after school either.

In relationships, there’s usually a person who “wears the pants.” According to Morrow it’s him.

“I feel like I keep him on track when he messes around,” Morrow said. “And because he literally wears shorts all the time.”

It’s true. Oleru is usually sporting the “Ultimate Frisbee” outfit: a jersey and a pair of athletic shorts. Morrow is the exact opposite. He can be found sporting brands like Supreme, North Face and Vans.

What they really enjoy about each other is that they both have similar senses of humor. You can usually find the two in their favorite spot: Steve Pratt’s room.

The saying goes that opposites attract and for these two, they’ve moved past all racial boundaries and have taken their love to another level. A level where bromance knows no color.

Friends from cradle to grave

Brandon Petit & Malik Seals


Asha Graves-Dixon

Malik Seals and Brandon Petitt

Malik Seals pulls out a tube of Carmex that Brandon Petitt had forgotten at his house. Seals had carried it around all day so he could give back Petitt. It’s the one thing his friend “never leaves the house without” according to Seals. This type of thoughfulness is what makes their friendship special – they always have each other’s back. You can go through both their pockets and find one of the other’s personal items. This is how strong their friendship is.

“Best friends forever” is a phrase tossed around a lot in middle school, but cut to four years later and best friends barely see each other, let alone speak. When it comes to Petitt and Seals, it’s a completely different story. They’ve been friends since they were born. With their grandmothers and mothers being friends, it was almost destiny.

Petitt and Seals believe that having their birthdays 13 days apart (March 14 and 27, respectively) has helped strengthen their tight bond.Their Zodiac signs prove it, too. According to, Pisces’ (Seals) and Aries’ (Petitt) compatibility is surprisingly strong. But it’s not just their Zodiac signs drawing them to one another. They both like each other’s personalities.

“He makes me laugh … we understand each other’s jokes,” said Petitt.

Since childhood, they’ve been together, even having a special clubhouse in Petitt’s back yard. The secret spot was one similar to what you might see in a movie. To get there, you had to crawl under some bushes into a small open space with some tires to sit on. They’ve outgrown the clubhouse but spend most of their time hang out at one of their houses.

In five little words, Seals sums up their friendship: “I love him. That’s it.”


Bickering besties remain bros through it all

Agaziyan Mengesha & Carsten Rossen


Ronnie Santos

Agaziyan Mengesha & Carsten Rossen

Their meeting is a distant memory, over a decade ago at Graham Hill Elementary. As 5 year olds, little did the two know that they would be nearly inseparable in the future.

In this volatile relationship filled with equal servings of love and hate, you’ll either find juniors Carsten Rossen and Agaziyan Mengesha giggling in front of a computer screen or involved in a heated debate about sports. Football is their favorite topic to gnaw on. Mengesha claims they don’t argue but when they “debate” about sports, all their friends are forced to take a side.

The two have known each other for so long that they consider themselves brothers instead of best friends.  And just like brothers, their fights are constant.

Outside of school, the two can be found playing Madden or tossing a football around at a park or hanging out at a friend’s house. Whether they play football or laze around on the weekend, the company of the other is always appreciated.

Rossen loves how Mengesha is always down to play football while Mengesha appreciates how Rossen helps him with schoolwork.

Rossen and Mengesha or “Cartberry” and “Agaze-iyan” as they like to refer to each other both fancy a sense of humor in their partner.

When asked what is his favorite physical feature on his partner in crime, Rossen quipped, “I got nothing.”

Mengesha laughed and promptly replied, “Hey, watch yourself.”

A love that dares not speak its name

Darnell Hogan & Bryan Gordon


Kamry Adams

Darnell Hogan and Bryan Gordon

You don’t have to be romantically involved to love someone. The bromance between advisory teacher Bryan Gordon and student Darnell Hogan’s is based on trust and respect. These two share a relationship where Hogan brings a heaping dose of fun while Gordon drops knowledge with his wise experiences. They have a bond that many students wish for with their teachers; a friend who shares life lessons while still being cool.

Hogan laughs as he recalls how he met Gordon.

“We met last year, when I first seen his bald head.” Gordon reminded Hogan of the rapper Action Bronson. Gordon’s first impression of Hogan left him less than thrilled. “He’s going to be one of those … annoying and obnoxious kids,” Gordon thought.

Hogan eventually appealed to Gordon’s sensitive side, and the two have been buddies ever since.

In most cases, you’d think that the oldest would wear the pants in the relationship, but in this unorthodox pairing, Hogan sees it as equal and fair.

“I think senior year, if an educator has done their job well, it’s not who wears the pants in the relationship,” Gordon explained. “I just need to make sure Darnell is going to be successful.” The statement left Hogan in awe.

Gordon’s favorite memory with Hogan was when he first met Hogan’s mom, Setsuko Nomura.

“Honestly, when I met his mom for the first time, I thought he might have hired a Japanese lady,” Gordon said, laughing. “I was like ‘shut up! That’s not your mom!’” Hogan is half black and half Japanese.

Although they may seem like two are peas in a pod, they have their differences. Hogan likes to settle their disagreements by placing his hand on Gordon’s bald head, while Gordon simply yells at Hogan when he’s being annoying.

Skate it off

Edgar Cortes & Adrian Malla


Robyn Gamboa

Edgar Cortes and Adrian Malla

You can’t miss Edgar Cortes’ and Adrian Malla’s close bond. The pair met in 6th grade and “it was love at first sight,” Cortes admitted, placing his arm around Malla.

“We met at math class. He asked me a question, and I gave him the wrong answer and he got mad,” said Malla. “He was a lonely man.”

Cortes wasn’t lonely for long. “He showed me the world of skateboarding, and that’s how we became close,” he said. The boys like to hang out at their favorite spot, Jefferson Skate Park. They are there practically around the clock. They even have special nicknames for each other.

“I call him Shake Weight,” Cortes said playfully. “I call him Beaner,” Malla grinned. The story behind the nicknames is confidential. “Sorry, we can’t tell you. It’s only between me and my buddy,” proclaimed Malla.

Cortes wears the pants in the relationship. “I lead, and he follows,” he said, “He can’t even take responsibility for himself.” Malla protested at first, but later agreed. “It’s true. We had a project and he guided me.”

Like any other relationship, not everything is perfect. “We argue about 10 times a day,” said Cortes. Malla agreed. “We usually throw our skateboards at each other,” they both admitted. They overcome their disagreements through competitions. “Every time he does something stupid that pisses me off, we play a game of skate to see who’s better,” said Cortes.

Cortes and Malla were destined for each other. “I like his long hair, and I like the way he skates, you know, he’s a sorcery kid,” said Malla. Cortes gushed about Malla’s pearly whites, “I like the way he smiles and all of his white teeth show.”

Reunited and it feels so good

Cuahutemoc “Temo” Hernandez & Bryan Gomez


Linda Chen

Bryan Gomez and Temo Hernandez

As they sat engulfed by another session of Clash of Clans, both giggle as they glanced at each other.

Bryan Gomez and Cuahutemoc “Temo” Hernandez were back to together again. Hernandez had spent nearly a month in Mexico and upon his homecoming, everything seemed to be back to normal.

“I missed taking mi amor out to lunch,” said Hernandez on his drive to Red Apple. Their reunion left him feeling nervous, like it was the first time meeting all over again. The two met during freshman year, but it wasn’t love at first sight. Gomez was already involved in another bromance with a guy named Dante.

“At first it was three of us, then two,” Hernandez explained. “He was mine when Dante left.”

Their relationship is built on similar interests. For starters they are “both Mexican and like soccer.” Hernandez loves Gomez’s accent and his “little red cheeks.” Gomez, on the other hand, described Hernandez’s eyes, smile and beard as his favorite.

In this relationship, on the rare occasion of an argument, they are settled in the most mature manner: seeing who gets a higher score in Clash of Clans.

Gomez and Hernandez love spending time together, but they know how to give each other their space.

“I don’t have to tell him where I am,” explained Gomez. Not having to check in shows their relationship built on trust. “We have ‘Find My iPhone’ so it’s not even a problem,” added Hernandez with a smile.

A love that can’t be contained

Nathan Chong & Dakota Brucker

It was a rush of happy endorphins in physics. When Dakota Brucker and Nathan Chong sat next to each other last year in Ryan Kastl’s class, they had an instant connection.

Their hangout spot is where it all began. “Right outside of physics class, I see him every morning and embrace him,” Chong explained.

They adore each other for their looks and personality. Chong’s favorite traits are Brucker’s “charismatic attitude, beautiful eyes and perfectly tan features.”

Chong is filled to the brim with admiration for “Brucker-sama” (-sama being a Japanese formal title for someone of very high rank or is very attractive). It’s his favorite nickname for his bro. Even though Brucker doesn’t have a nickname for Chong, he knows they’ll be bros for a while. Or as Brucker said, “For one year until eternity.”

It’s easy to say who wears the pants. “I definitely wear the pants … I just know I do. Nathan is definitely all over me,” said Brucker.

While the duo never fights, Brucker’s girlfriend sometimes gets in the way. Chong’s solution is to, “Just sweep him into my arms and embrace him in front of her.” Besides that, the bromance has been a ship that sails itself.

Overall, Brucker and Chong aren’t the typical bromance couple. Chong said, “Our relationship isn’t bogged down by logistics, we’re just pure passion.”

They’re in this together

Austin Saelee & Justin Sia


Nha Dao

Austin Saelee & Justin Sia

Austin Saelee and Justin Sia are the epitome of bromance. Whether they are putting in work on the Ultimate Frisbee field or munching on McChickens, these two know how to have a good time. You can spot them fooling around and cracking jokes, but don’t think for a second that they can’t get down to business.

The two love birds met back in the sixth grade at Aki Kurose Middle School. They had just begun dating their girlfriends who were best friends at the time, and were properly introduced to each other after a short time. Their eventful encounter eventually led to a lasting bond between the bros.

“We didn’t start talking ‘til eighth grade, but we were a little close due to Frisbee,” Sia said.

Sia and Saelee spend their time together in various ways. Some days they play basketball or they hang out at McDonald’s. All that matters to them is that they’re together.

“I like how he’s really funny and generous,” Saelee said when asked what he thinks of Sia.

In all relationships, there are always mountains to climb. For some couples, these challenges are too much to overcome and as a result, they end up going their separate ways. For Sia and Saelee, parting ways is not an option.

“We take breaks and apologize, or play “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” Sia said.

Both of them keep each other in check, even when situations get tough. Sia is a huge motivator for Saelee.

“He tells me to show up on school on time, and I love how he’s really funny and generous,” Saelee said.

Saelee is optimistic about the future of his relationship with Sia and predicts they’ll remain close as they become older.

“I see us possibly in a big house, being … neighbors. You know, just right across the hall,” Saelee said. Their feelings toward one another is mutual, and they’re not afraid to share it throughout the halls of Cleveland.


The game isn’t over for these long distance bros

Mario Ramirez & Luigi Kiocho

Spongebob and Patrick, Bert and Ernie, Piggy and Kermit; you never hear one name without the other. Mario Ramirez and Luigi Kiocho have unique attributes in this friendship that most relationships don’t have. They share the names of two of the world’s most popular video game characters. They are known to be “The Mario Brothers.”

“It’s crazy how my best friend’s name is Mario,” Kiocho grinned “Every time people hear about our names, they are always in shock or disbelief.”

Kiocho and Ramirez caught each other’s eye about three years ago as eighth graders at Asa Mercer Middle School. Kiocho had just arrived to the U.S. from the Philippines. Ramirez helped him along the way and since then their bond has been like a magnet.

There was a time when the two were inseparable, but this year, the bros entered a long-distance relationship when Kiocho changed schools.

“We’re still very good friends, though Luigi no longer attends Cleveland,” Ramirez said. Kiocho enrolled at Franklin late last year. The distance has made their bond stronger.

“I can tell him anything,” Kiocho said. “And if I need help, he’s always there for me.”

Although they do have disagreements, never shy away from the truth.

“We usually are very honest and speak our mind out and fight verbally, but nothing major,” Ramirez explained.

You’ll either find these two eating at Red Robin, getting stuffed on unlimited fries or drinking bubble tea at Oasis.

When two become one

Kerkphon Ketboonsai & Gerald Tolentino


Andy Huynh

Kerkphon Ketboonsai & Gerald Tolentino

Juniors Kerkphon Ketboonsai and Gerald Tolentino are practically Siamese twins. Glued at the hip, their classmates can expect to see them side-by-side on any given day, surrounded by a warmly jocular atmosphere. Since seventh grade, after their fateful first encounter at a bus stop, these two have refused to be apart, stubbornly and incessantly poking fun at each. Their perfectly-matched personalities, looks and interests make the pair easy to mistake as one person.

“I think we look the same,” Tolentino said.

“We sound the same,” Ketboonsai said, eyeing his match up and down. “We act the same.”

Sitting together during lunch, the two instinctively look at each other and laugh at the thought of their bromance. Their constant arm wrestling contests might bring into question who’s the dominant one in the relationship, but Ketboonsai seems confident otherwise.

“Who’s the man in [this relationship]? That’s me,” Ketboonsai said. Tolentino scoffed in protest that Ketboonsai is the one who does the cooking.

“When I feel like cooking, I cook. I mean, if you want me to cook, I’m not going to cook just for myself,” Ketboonsai retorted with embarrassment. “So to be nice, I’ve got to cook for him too. Because you know, Gerald doesn’t know how to cook.”

Their list of favorite couple activities is endless: running, going to Chinatown, playing League of Legends and sharing fried rice. Regardless of what they do, the duo is always on the same wavelength. They’re so in sync that, to them, arguing is unthinkable. While playful banter follows them everywhere they go, it’s clear that they truly enjoy each other’s company.

“I like his unibrow. He used to have one. Oh wait, he still has one,” Tolentino joked, pointing at his friend’s forehead. Ketboonsai had similar sentiments with an underlying theme of compassion.

“He’s tiny and small and he acts like a kid. I find that funny, and I think other people find him funny, too. Gerald is smart, but he acts dumb,” Ketboonsai laughed. “He’s passionate about what he does.”

Although they have a lot in common, Ketboonsai believes that he and Tolentino have a defining difference.

“I’m bigger, and he’s smaller. I don’t get how you get us mixed up.”


2 Responses to “I love you, man”

  1. chev on February 15th, 2015 11:13 am

    this is an incredible article

  2. Allyson Birdsell on January 30th, 2017 12:01 pm

    I love this! It is super creative and a fantastic idea!

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